We need to ditch streaming services for physical media

When I was a child and Taylor Swift released new music, I would get a shiny new CD for my birthday or Christmas. Over the years, I’ve collected most of Swift’s discography, and when I got my own car, I filled my glovebox with CDs.

I’ve collected lots of physical media like CDs, DVDs, books and video games, and you should, too.

For one thing, it’s convenient. When you’re on a road trip, perhaps driving home from college for the summer, you’re bound to go through long stretches of road with spotty service, and suddenly the music on your phone doesn’t work. That’s when CDs come to the rescue — no more driving in silence!

Another perk of physical media is when artists produce special editions of their art that can only be purchased physically. When I was little, I pored over the lyric booklet inside my “Red” CD, searching for the hidden messages that Swift had left for fans.

I recently bought Kacey Musgraves’ new album and found the cover and case to be beautiful, something I never would’ve seen had I only streamed the album.

There’s something special about holding art in your hands and knowing it’s only yours, seeing all the work the artist put into it, down to the last detail. Plus, you can’t get an autographed CD or book if it’s digital.

Another reason I’ve begun to collect physical media — particularly DVDs — is because some media is slipping through the cracks of streaming services and becoming incredibly difficult to find.

I have subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, so it’s frustrating when I’m searching for a movie that isn’t on any of those platforms. It’s especially alarming when I Google a movie or TV show just to find that it’s not available on any streaming service, not even for purchase.

This is becoming an increasingly prominent issue for older, lesser-known movies. There are movies I watched as a kid, on a DVD from who-knows-where, that I’ve tried to find and rewatch as an adult, only to learn that the movie was so niche the only way to watch it now is to purchase the DVD off Ebay.

Streaming services can be great, and I think you can keep a subscription or two for when you want to watch a movie you’ve never seen or one you don’t love enough to own.

The reality is that streaming services don’t provide long term preservation of media. If you have favorite movies or shows that you come back to regularly, that you want to show your friends or your kids eventually, you should buy the DVD yourself.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash.